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Call To Action: Hannibal’s Very First Comic Book & How *You* Can Help

Posted in 104, awesomeness, buy pile, comics, creativity, happiness, inspiration, writing on November 6th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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It could be considered an innocuous notice on page 316 of the latest Previews catalog …

solicitation ad for watson & holmes #7

… or it could have been presented like this …


  • Steven Grant (Punisher, Wolverine, 2 Guns)
  • Hannibal Tabu (The Buy Pile at Comic Book Resources, 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt winner)
  • Featuring Art by Dennis Calero (Supergirl & The Legion of Super Heroes, X-Factor)

When one of Watson’s old army buddies gets in trouble, the crime solving duo leave the streets of New York behind for the tedium of the midwest. Holmes relies heavily on his network of informants and operatives … none of whom can help in so far from home.

Making this comic was so much fun for a number of reasons …

  • Working closely with Steven Grant has been a real education, in the best possible way. He’s a consummate professional who really knows the craft in ways that I was very, very happy learn from.
  • Brandon, Zack and everybody at New Paradigm run a very tight ship, and that was also a real pleasure.
  • Dennis Calero leapt into the creation of our fictional Illinois town, heavily based on Rockford, the city where I was born. they say you can’t go home again, but let’s just say this is close.
  • What can I say about Karl Bollers, who was like a big brother to me? He really help me get inside the heads and voices of the characters. That was enormous advantage.

This issue also follows hot on the heels of the surely under-ordered sixth issue, written by my good friend Brandon Easton. I am certain that when the story gets out, lots of people will be talking about it. All of the people who funded these issues on Kickstarter are surely going to get their money’s worth.

Another great thing for me was being able to touch on the plight of service people who are not properly served by the infrastructure when they return home. My wife and I both have close friends who served overseas, and to know the kinds of challenges they face when trying to reenter great with regular life, it’s really heartbreaking. Regardless of what you think about the policies behind military action (believe me I’m not in favor of it), the people who served, the actual boots on the ground, are really doing the best they can with a challenging situation. Hopefully, our story can bring a little more attention to that, even if only in a “don’t hate the player, hate the game” kind of way.

Here’s what I want you to do: please use the Comic Shop Locator to find the comic book store nearest you. Then please call that shop, and ask them to reserve a copy of Watson and Holmes #7 for you. Every time a retailer gets a person asking for a book, that encourages them to buy more to have on the stands in case people come in looking for. You can use either order code, NOV131148 or STK628599.

the cover for watson & holmes #7

Pre-orders help determine how retailers buy comics, as they are considered the actual customer by publishers. Black writers are wildly underrepresented in comics (only 20 Black writers have ever written more than one issue for the companies making up 70 percent of the market), so each thing we do can reflect positively or negatively on every one who follows them. Plus, as a degree holder in English, I guarantee this is a solid, self contained story.

If you love me, if you like me, if you even just barely tolerate me, I would really appreciate if you could do this for my professional debut as a comic book writer.

In any case, I “really, really thank you for dancing ’til the end, you found a way to freak out, you’re not afraid to freak out …”

Playing (Music): “Dance Apocalyptic” by Janelle Monae

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Comics: Torturing The Weak And Stupid For My Own Amusement (and Profit)

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, buy pile, comedy, comics, fandom, randomness, ranting, snark on September 27th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, if I feel like it, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

Actual email I got after my Buy Pile reviews posted on Thursday, September 26th (profanity edits are mine)…

holy f***, we get it, you like transformers. if fables and transformers weren’t on the shelves you’d have to drop the industry entirely. time for a new reviewer.

Hh. My response.


Thanks for writing in.

Also, thanks for reading the column, especially (in the last month) the glowing reviews of Saga, Sex Criminals (brand new this week!), Astro City, Batman #23.2, Chew, Lazarus (only on issue #3) and Kill Shakespeare.

Hold on, you might think Kill Shakespeare is too much like Fables. Well, at least there’s the other wildly different comics not involving giant robots or classical literary characters during one of the most diverse and engaging periods in the entire history of comics.

Thanks again for writing in!

Earlier this month, my pal John Layman went to war with … honestly I can’t remember the guy’s name, or what his website was. Anyway, some reviewer wrote up John’s book and said that something happened in the book, something that absolutely did not happen. John went after the guy, demanding an apology. The guy hemmed, hawed, played at “really being a big fan,” and all kinds of foolishness, but would not retract and did not apologize for the actual clearly provable offense. It reminded me of this, even if tangentially, because John’s incredulity at this ill-informed person on the unpaid side of the screen somewhat mirrored my own.

just some of the comics i've reviewed glowingly ... not that some people can be bothered with facts ...

Everybody won’t like what I like. I know that. Some people hate read my weekly column and gnash their teeth that I get paid to do this while their (in their minds) clearly superior opinions languish in perhaps lesser seen corners of da intawebs.

I get it. I’ve felt the same way at times. I’ve echoed Kanye’s thoughts, “damn, these ******s that much better than me?” reading names of new writer assignments and multimedia deals off of Twitter accounts. I remember even staring, gape jawed, at Roger Ebert (spirit bless his soul) when he completely misunderstood the film Biker Boyz. I’ve gritted my teeth when reading licensed properties that saw me through puberty, wishing I was turning in the script and cashing the check so things could be the right way. My way. I understand all of that.

What I don’t understand — and being raised in the south never really understood — is the lack of civility. I may think (and do) that 2 Chainz is the worst thing to happen to hip hop since the word “recoup,” and if asked, I’d be happy to say the same (and have, via Twitter), even directly to him. However, angrily volunteering my opinion, especially with profanity … what’s that supposed to accomplish exactly? Did this guy believe I’d look at the screen and say, “My god … he’s right! Well, time to write up a letter of resignation and stop doing the job I’ve done consistently for longer than my stepdaughter has even been alive!”

It’s not just the “more honey with flies than vinegar” issue (which I had to learn and strive to apply all the time, another reason I talk about the work, not the people, because I don’t know them). It’s basic human decency, the fundamental idea of going out in the world without trying to start a fight that serves no purpose and returns no profit. I write these reviews for three reasons: I love comic books, I get paid to do this, and when I do it lots of people take a look at what I’m doing, which is all good for a writer. It’s a business relationship and I do try to approach it in a professional manner. Any effects of antagonism upon people are purely accidental, but my laughter at their reactions is often quite genuine and intentional.

It’s not like hate mail even bothers me — I kind of love it, because I don’t really know how to process the admiration of others. Bad wiring somewhere in my head, I guess. I know what to do with unprovoked hatred, though. Black guy, survives growing up in the south, that’s a very early lesson. In laughing at it, I still can’t comprehend the thought pattern that goes into it … which brings us here I suppose.

To be fair, I don’t understand much of human behavior. I am able to write characters due to observation, but most people I know don’t even know why they do things. Most of that kind of foolishness, generally, has the common decency to stay out of my inbox. Funny old life.

Playing (Music): “Speechless” by Lady Gaga

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Comics: Commentary Track for the Missing April/May Buy Piles

Posted in blame society, buy pile, cheap publicity, comics reviews, mediocrity, narcissism, randomness, ranting, star wars, wackness, work on May 9th, 2011 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

SERIOUSLY? GONE FOR TWO WEEKS? First of all, shut up.

I overestimated my resources, trying to keep up with blogs, National Poetry Writing Month, the family man thing, the day gig thing and, oh yeah, launching a pop culture phenomenon called Komplicated all in one month. Something had to give. Family’s fine. Komplicated is fine. The rest … we do what we can. That’s no excuse, that’s just how it is.

MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU … OR NOT: Comics came out on May 4th, recognized as “Star Wars Day” by those in the know due to being able to sound like Lucas memorable phrase, “may the Force be with you.” There’s May 25th (the day the first movie hit) for purists, but this one is no secret. Were there any Star Wars comics for sale from the license holders, Dark Horse? No. There was, admittedly, one for Free Comic Book Day three days later, but that’s not the same, is it?

I love Star Wars with a passion that borders on being scary. I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars through out my life to help Jett Lucas and hs descendants have college tuition. I get that. The idea that Dark Horse can’t consistently publish a Star Wars comic that I would pay for is inconceivable.

I know what’s wrong, of course. By and large, the artwork has been posterish and lacked dynamism. The stories have been byzantine and lacked quotability, memorable action (aside from Yoda’s Death Star ploy in Infinities, which just lacked visual grandeur) or gripping characterization. Some of that has to do with Lucasfilm’s twitchiness, probably, but still.

Would I ever pitch stories set in the Tatooine sandbox? Dark Horse doesn’t take cold pitches and failing to break into comics the last ten or so years has proven to me that such an approach is like lottery winners getting hit by lightning. Possible, but unlikely. So I pine for saber swinging, star destroying high adventure and move on, keeping my dollars in my pocket.

JUST SAYING: I’m gonna need Steve Rogers to know who S.W.O.R.D. Is. Seriously.

I also need Lex Luthor to be, I dunno, smart. Sometimes, not just off panel.

Yeah, I saw the typo in the Deadpool review that spell check let slide. You have to roll with it sometimes, and I type weird.

I miss Dwayne McDuffie.

THAT’S THE NEWS, AND I AM OUTTA HERE: That’ll do. Be back next week.


Playing (Music): “Disappointment” by the Cranberries

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